Kerry warns France against doing business with Iran

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe enemy of my enemy is my friend — an alliance that may save the Middle East Democratic governors fizzle in presidential race A lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair MORE warned France on Wednesday that its businesses will be sanctioned if they try to do business with Iran.

Kerry issued the warning in a wide-ranging interview with CNN on Wednesday after 100 French companies traveled to Iran’s capital this week to do business.

“While the French may send some businesspeople over there, they're not able to contravene the sanctions,” he said. “They will be sanctioned if they do and they know it. And we've put them on notice.”

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Kerry called French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius this week to say the visit to Tehran was “not helpful,” according to Wendy Sherman, under-secretary of State for political affairs.

“Tehran is not open for business because our sanctions relief is quite temporary, quite limited and quite targeted,” Sherman told members of Congress on Tuesday.

France is part of the P5+1 group that reached an interim nuclear agreement with Iran in November. The six-month deal took effect late last month.

Kerry expressed confidence that the deal has successfully frozen Iran’s nuclear program.

“I believe Israel and the region are safer today then they were before we made this agreement because the program is stopped and rolled back and we have greater insight and accountability into the program,” he said Wednesday.

President Obama has threatened to veto sanctions legislation pending in the Senate, saying they would derail nuclear talks. But Kerry vowed that Iran will face consequences if Iran reneges on the interim deal or negotiators fail to reach a final agreement.

“If there isn't an agreement,” he said, “every option, including increased sanctions or anything else is available to the president of the United States.”

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